The bookies have New Zealand favourites over Ireland at minus five and a half points. Photo: Kim Ludbrook/EPA
The bookies have New Zealand favourites over Ireland at minus five and a half points. Photo: Kim Ludbrook/EPA
Kevin Ferguson, chief executive of Highbury Media, is South Africa’s leading sports betting analyst.
Kevin Ferguson, chief executive of Highbury Media, is South Africa’s leading sports betting analyst.

CAPE TOWN – Betting is not for the faint-hearted. It’s a risky business, but so is investing on the All-Share index. Just ask anyone who invested in Steinhoff stocks.

Usually what goes up must come down and I stick to a tried and trusted formula of probable outcomes.

The last month of rugby has shown that the gap between the northern and southern hemisphere’s best teams has all but disappeared. The Springboks winning by three, Wales winning by three, New Zealand by one, England winning by one all matches that could have had another outcome. 

Couple this with the All Blacks versus Boks two point double headers and it’s starting to make for a wonderful build-up to next year’s World Cup. There simply are no guarantees. It makes this market of rugby betting very volatile.

When assessing this weekend’s games, the only one I will bet on with confidence is New Zealand to beat Ireland.

New Zealand are the best in the world - and even if they lose in Dublin on Saturday they remain the best purely because of the consistency of a 90% win record over the last decade. But this won’t be a debate after the weekend, as the All Blacks will win.

Rassie's Springboks have been unsettled on tour so far. Photo: Springboks on facebook
Rassie's Springboks have been unsettled on tour so far. Photo: Springboks on facebook

The bookies have New Zealand favourites at minus five and a half points, which means if you’re betting on New Zealand you give the minus five and a half to New Zealand and they have to win by six or more. The opposite is true if you feel Ireland will do well. You take the plus five and a half and pray that they don’t lose by six or more. I’ll borrow a line from Wesley Snipes to always bet on black.

I am staying away from the Boks versus Scotland in terms of a bet because it is too close to call. The Boks have been unsettled on tour so far and lost a game at Twickenham they should have won, and somehow won a game in Paris that they should have lost.

Let’s celebrate the Paris victory for a wonderful comeback and enjoy it.

Scotland aren’t the easy beats of a few years back. They’ve won nine of their last 10 matches at Murrayfield, with their only defeat coming against New Zealand. They deserve respect. It wouldn’t surprise me if this is the highest-scoring game on tour. 

The bookies are giving the Boks a five and a half point handicap. It is a brave person to think the Boks will win by six or more.

Kevin Ferguson


* Kevin Ferguson, chief executive of Highbury Media, is South Africa’s leading sports betting analyst.